There’s nothing like seeing the explosion of color that takes place every spring at Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands. This year, there are predicted to be over seven million tulips in bloom with over 800 varieties. From March 21-May 19, visitors can enjoy walking through 32 hectares (80 acres) of carefully designed arrangements and rows of tulips in all the colors of the rainbow.
Located about 39 kilometers (24 miles) from Amsterdam, Keukenhof is often reached by first travelling to Schiphol airport and then taking a connecting bus. But there are also a number of day tours that make getting to Keukenhof easy and fun.
Volendam, Zaanse Schans Windmills, and Keukenhof Tour
Starting in Amsterdam, this scenic day trip begins with a boat ride to the picturesque fishing villages of Voldendam and Marken. From there, you’ll board a luxury coach to Zaanse Schans to see the famous windmills. Next you’ll visit a wooden clog maker where the traditional Dutch shoes are made and enjoy a workshop on authentic Dutch cheese making. Finally, you’ll head to Keukenhof with ample time to wander through the colorful flower fields before heading back to Amsterdam.
Keukenhof Tour with Bulb Farm Excursion
Learn about tulip farming and its unique industry with a tour that includes a stop at a thriving bulb farm on the way to Keukenhof Gardens. It’s hard not to feel inspired after walking these luxurious grounds. On this tour, you’ll also receive a complimentary bag of tulip bulbs for planting when you get home.
Amsterdam City Tour and Keukenhof Day Trip
If you’re passing through the Netherlands on your vacation and short on time, this eight-hour day tour includes a two-and-a-half-hour tour of interesting sights around Amsterdam, including Dam Square and a diamond factory, before heading to Keukenhof Gardens.
What to See in Keukenhof Gardens in 2019
For 2019, the Garden is hosting its “Flower Power” theme, exploring how flowers bring people together from across the globe. (Think: Bright colors, hippies, peace and music!)
Visitors are free to explore the park with a guided tour or stroll, bike, or even cruise through the park on a romantic boat ride. The Garden will also feature events throughout the opening of the Garden, such as the stunning Rose Show.
However you choose to explore the park, expect to be surprised at the creative displays throughout the park, and don’t miss the chance to see the stunning Flower Parade on April 13!
You can also enjoy an informative exhibit in the Juliana Pavilion about the history of tulips, including the fascinating story of Tulipmania.
What is Tulipmania?
Did you know that tulips represent the first economic bubble and “stock market crash” in history. Considered extremely popular flower in Europe due to its unique blend of colors, the tulip flourished as a symbol of success during the Dutch Golden Age, when the newly independent Netherlands rose as a major trading power. As the merchant class grew with wealth, they began expanding their homes with luxurious gardens with the tulips as the main feature.
Ironically, the rarest and most thought after variety were tulips with white or yellow streaks on a red blossom which, today, are a sign of a diseased tulip suffering from TBV, or Tulip Breaking Virus. Today, the UK and US both ban the distribution of diseased bulbs and professional tulip producers carefully check each bulb for signs of the disease to prevent its spread.
What began as genuine appreciation for this plant grew rapidly into a massive industry wherein tulips were one of the major exports of the Netherlands. It is believed that in the spring of 1637, the tulip bubble burst, and the fields upon fields of sought after tulips were as useless as, well, a field of tulips.
For centuries tulip mania was associated with extreme economic speculation, but further recent into historical records show that the collapse wasn’t as bad as many believed it to be. However true the tales are, the tulip has lived on as a beautiful and unique display of wealth and success. Any trip to Amsterdam will come with spotting tulip gardens throughout the city. Just as strolling down the Red Lights District has risen as a popular past time for visitors to Amsterdam, so too is a scenic drive out of the city to see the fields of Netherlands where tulips are still grown today.
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